As part of a strategy to reduce costs and enhance operational efficiency and improve services to local residents, Wakefield Council is to invest over £3 million in an IP-based unified communications (UC) infrastructure from Siemens Enterprise Communications.
UC systems are increasingly being adopted as a means to deliver productivity gains to firms with dispersed workforces and to boost collaboration between workers, suppliers and customers.
The first components of the new platform at Wakefield are scheduled to go live on two core sites at the end of July 2009, and ultimately the council believes that it will allow it to handle citizens’ needs more flexibly with calls more likely to be resolved by one council staff member, decreased hold periods and improved efficient call resolution.
The UC solution will integrate IP telephony, fixed to mobile convergence (FMC), unified messaging and new contact centre services. It will see use as part of a plan to support a working environment designed to reduce costs, increase staff productivity, and deliver environmental benefits through reduced travel.
The council also thinks that it will gain added business benefits of reduced power consumption across the communications estate and enhanced business continuity capabilities.
By opting for a FMC telephony application, the council is confident that it will be able to further reduce costs by transferring any calls to the council’s own wide area network (WAN) operating across its estate.
The new communications infrastructure will support the council’s flexible working policy, supporting at-home, mobile and office operations. In theory this should satisfy the council’s ambition to maintain an efficient service during peak times when additional remote workers can be plugged in to the main platform.
Explained Alan Kirkham, the Service Director for corporate ICT at Wakefield Council, “The UC solution provided answers to our key business requirements and the need to provide cutting edge services that support our employees, deliver outstanding results to the citizens of